Friday, April 07, 2017

Fuss free Pav Bhaji in the Electric Pressure Cooker / IP

On my last India trip, my son and I had a blast. I formally introduced him to the glorious street food. We loved the dabeli, the pani puri, the vada paav/ samosa, but the jewel in the crown was pav-bhaji.
We went to Achija and he fell in love with it. It was a first for li'll S and it was so satisfying to see my 8 year old eat with great concentration and enjoyment. 
To date, he talks of Achija and his eyes glaze over and the smile says it all.

S also has high expectations.
There are days when I fret..."So, what should I make for dinner?" 
"Oh, just make Pav Bhaji", he says causally. 
I stare, sometimes I exclaim, " Veda ahes ka?", I mean pav bhaji on demand, come on! 
All this changed a few weeks ago. 
Now, If I have the necessary ingredients on hand, I just nod my head and finish the task at hand. 
No hurry.

When I spoke to my friend Sonali, she told me how much she loves her EPC and how useful it is for cooking almost everything.
She told me she was making pav bhaji for dinner and it was such a breeze! 
I loved the idea. Pav bhaji in a jiffy, on demand.
Instant pot pavbhaji

I like how fuss free and no babysitting required this recipe is.

I like to prep just one thing before hand. I soak dry red chilies in warm water for a few hours, this gives the bhaji it's nice color.

To make pav bhaji in the EPC , you need

4-5 Dry red chilies ( preferably Kashmiri or Byadgi) soaked in warm water
6-8  large cloves of Garlic
1 inch ginger scraped and grated
1 small Onion, Finely chopped
1 small or 1/2 of a large sized Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 can diced Tomatoes 
2 cups Cauliflower florets
3 Potatoes ( I used Russet), peel and make large cubes
1/2 cup Green Peas ( I used frozen) 
Salt to Taste
3 heaped spoons ( I used a plastic disposable spoon) Pav Bhaji Masala (I use Everest)
3-4 tbsp. Oil
Butter, big pats! 
Chopped Cilantro, to garnish
chopped Onion, to serve with bhaji
Lemon wedges, if required.

To begin, drain the water from the soaked red chilies. Place the chilies and 4 cloves of garlic in a chopper / blender jar and pulse to make a rough paste.

Start the EPC on Sear / saute mode and add Oil and one tbsp Butter to the inner steel pot.
As the oil heats and the butter melts, add the red chilies paste, cook this well. IF the chilies are under cooked, they will make the bhaji bitter.
Once the raw smell of the chilies and garlic is gone, add the chopped onions and saute them well. 
When the onions turn brown at the edges add the reserved chopped garlic and grated ginger and saute till the raw smell is cooked out.
Add the chopped bell pepper.  As the bell pepper softens add the remaining ingredients.
Just pile them in the cooker pot and mix.
Cancel the Sear mode. Close the lid and set the 'whistle' to 'Seal' mode and select the Manual Mode and set the timing for 20 minutes. I might have set it to 25, but 20 is fine.

In the meantime, finish a load of laundry or read a book, drop your child off to an activity or pick him/her up, watch TV. Do what you want!

Let the pressure subside naturally (NPR).
Open the lid and use a potato masher to mash the vegetables well.
Serve bhaji with a big pat of butter, chopped cilantro and soft buttery, lightly toasted pav. YUM!

- If you do not wish to use the soaked red chilies paste, you can also use Kashmiri Mirch powder instead. It does not need to be sauteed in the beginning. Add it after the bell pepper is cooked.

- Garlic is what will give it the enticing aroma and do not skimp on this. I used large cloves and so 8 were sufficient. If you have medium or small sized cloves, increase the quantity.

- Leftover pavbhaji can be stored int he fridge.

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